Written by Bruce Joel Rubin
Directed by Robert Schwentke
Starring Eric Bana, Rachel McAdams and Ron Livingston
Time travel is certainly not an easy concept to buy. There are a number of theories that can make some plausible sense if explained and backed up thoroughly but it is, for now, a romanticized notion designed by the human mind to free ourselves from having to commit to anything. Oddly enough, over-romanticizing time travel does nothing to further its argument, at least not on screen. I’ve not read it but I feel THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE would have done time travel itself a little more justice as a novel than it does in Robert Schwentke’s film. On the page, one can use their imagination; in fact, one must. On screen, all the imagining is done for you and in this case, it is not a pretty picture.
Eric Bana plays Henry, the time traveler and Rachel McAdams plays Clare, the wife. When he is in his forties, Henry travels back in time and meets Clare as a young girl in a field. She grows up knowing all the while that her destiny is predetermined and with him. When Henry meets her in the present, he hasn’t gone back to the past yet so he must love without the certainty she has that it will all work out. While this is ripe with possibly new perspectives on love and what it would mean if we knew it was all worth it, it amounts to very little more than a lot of explanation and a bunch of sappy looks exchanged between Bana and McAdams.
As facile as this sounds, I wish I could travel back in time so that I could stop myself from seeing this movie. At least Bana is constantly naked throughout because he can’t bring his clothes with him when he travels. I guess that makes it not a total waste of time.